And Have A Happy New Year

It is only a few days until the new year – year of the Cat. I bet you guys are now busy cleaning up your house, decorating, cooking, preparing…

This is the time for family get together. I remember how we spent the day preparing for a big meal to celebrate the new year. I always enthusiastically waiting for the “Giao thua” play (the one about Ong Tao Ve Troi), I would watch it and compare it with last year’s. I was happily waiting for the midnight, feeling the holiday spirit in the air.

Of course with years far from home, I don’t have the luxury to celebrate and enjoy Tet like that anymore. Tet usually coincide with the most busy weeks in the semester with all the midterms and students coming for office hour. However, we, students oversea, still try to gather together, having a pot luck party (party where each person bring a dish or contribute something), and celebrate it in the weekend.

Well I said we’ll try to blog everyday, but I think now everyone is very busy, this is not a good time to study after all 😉

A new year is coming. I wish you all a happy time with family and friends, and a wonderful year ahead, with full of success and joy.



Listening practice for the TOEFL test

Yes the test is getting harder. When I took it, it was still paper-based, when I had a chance to glance quickly at the answers first, have an idea what they will be talking about and what might be the question, and focus on it. Now with computer-based test, unfortunately you lost that opportunity 😦

However, there is still something you can do. And it was what I did back then, too. For the long talk, we all know that it will be a lecture about something, geography, science, history, … . So if you have some previous knowledge about it, even if you don’t catch everything they say, you can still guess the answer, since it is just a common knowledge 😉

So you can do some more reading, listen more on the subjects that might be on the test. And believe me, it will be helpful for your own good later 😉

I would suggest you trying NPR for this kind of listening, VOA (Voice of America) is good too, but they don’t talk much about science.

Chung tay giúp em Phan Hồ Anh Thư


Kính gửi Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp.

Em Phan Hồ Anh Thư, hiện đang là Trợ giảng tại Bộ môn Giải Tích, Khoa Toán – Tin học, Đại học Khoa học Tự nhiên, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh.

Dự kiến ngày 12/02/2011, em Thư sẽ trải qua ca đại phẫu để lấy tủy ghép cho em trai bị căn bệnh suy tủy. Đây là ca phẫu thuật phức tạp và chi phí rất lớn, dự kiến từ 500 đến 700 triệu đồng. Trong khi đó, ba mẹ em hiện là giáo viên cấp 2 trường làng (Quảng Nam) nên kinh tế rất eo hẹp.

Qua thư ngỏ này Công đoàn Khoa Toán – Tin học rất mong nhận được sự chia sẻ về mặt vật chất cũng như tinh thần từ những tấm lòng hảo tâm quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp để giúp em Thư cứu sống em trai.

Chân thành cám ơn tấm lòng vàng của Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp.

Công đoàn Khoa Toán – Tin học.

Ghi chú: Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp xem chi tiết tại địa chỉ để biết hình thức tiếp nhận

đóng góp.


Smile :)

When do we smile? When we are happy, when we see a friend, when we are on a road trip enjoying the sunshine and the landscape.

What we always think of as a simple smile turns out to be a lot more than that. Enjoy the article

More to a Smile Than Lips and Teeth

from NY Times where you’ll be given a hint of how “smile” differs from culture to culture 🙂

Does college make you smarter? – NY Times

The good, the bad, and the discussion about American college in the NY Times Opinion Pages:

Does College Make You Smarter?

Reading the opinion pages of newspaper is a great way to improve your English and writing style. Enjoy this double dips where you can also learn about American colleges.

On the other hand, what do you think about Vietnamese colleges? What’s the good and the bad? What you love about our colleges and what you think should be improved?

Merriam-Webster online and word stories

Just in case you don’t know it, the online dictionary Merriam Webster once in a while has a very interesting post about various topics about words. Recently there is a Top 10 words with remarkable origins.

Normally we accept the word as it is. However, words are in fact living things. Think about how our own Vietnamese language, how many new words are added each year, how the old words change their own meanings, and how some words are so out-dated that no one wants to use it. The same thing happens with English (as well as other language). Thus by reading this, you not only learn new words, but also know about its history. A bit something for someone who wants to know where this come from and how it ends up here.

Tet, the Vietnamese new year.

So I planed to write a short post about Tet. But wait. There are plenty of articles about Tet that we can easily google (yes, Google for the win 😉 ) so there we go. With the key word “Vietnamese new year” off it provides thousands of online articles. Amongst which, Wikipedia’s is the very first result and seems to have the most information. Personally I don’t really like the writing style. It reads Vietnamese style of writing English to me (like my writing style… to be honest 😉 )

Next on the list is from AmCham Vietnam. Short, informative, with links to further reading.

My favorite finding is, guess what, a lesson plan on TeacherLINK! The Tet description is in the background section (background here means “basic knowledge”) It is beautifully written, informative, and of course, authentic American English writing style. It is definitely worth reading and I believe you’ll learn new words, as well as grammar and language style there.

Have fun 🙂